Movie: The Revenant (2015)
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Writers: Mark L. Smith (screenplay), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (screenplay), & Michael Punke (novel)
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Godluck, Paul Anderson, & Kristoffer Joner
One-Line Plot Synopsis: Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is attacked by a bear on a hunting expedition and left for dead by his fellow hunters.
Before we get started with the review, how fucking amazing is that trailer? Like, seriously? I rarely write about trailers (when I have any time to write at all) and this one had me on the edge of my seat.
The Revenent was nominated for 12 Academy Awards at this past year's Oscars, leaving the award show with 3 of the coveted prizes. The longtime elusive Best Actor statuette for my boy Leo, the second straight Best Director Award for the incomparable Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and the Oscar for Best Cinematography for one of my two favorite cinematographers, Emmanuel Lubezki (the other being Roger Deakins). This is very much an Oscar driven movie, so it makes sense that it would rack up the nominations come award season. However, I'm going to throw a somewhat (maybe) unpopular opinion out there. I didn't really like the movie.
Don't get me wrong, the cinematography and direction are the best I've seen in a quite some time and those two (Inarritu and Lubezki) are perhaps the best two working in film today...but I just didn't think the movie was that great. At least, not Best Picture great, which is probably why the movie won best director and actor, but not Best Picture. At 2 hours and 36 minutes, the movie is quite the arduous journey. For one, the subject matter doesn't really provide the best material for such a long movie. It's a very slow and methodical movie that seems to take forever to get where everyone knows it's going.
How many times can a guy almost die and drag himself to the next shelter to rest? And, nothing against Leonardo's performance, but I enjoyed Tom Hardy's character much more than Leo's in this movie. For one, he had a lot more to do. He had layers to his actions and different emotions other than simply revenge. Much like how Martin Scorsese won his Best Director Oscar for The Departed, even though he's had movies that were probably more deserving of the award, Leo falls into the same category. I don't think this was his best or most versatile performance (he was better in What's Eating Gilbert Grape? and The Aviator) but it seemed like it was more of a lifetime achievement award for other ones that he probably should have won.
I think Matt Damon probably should have won the award for this year, but I'm OK with Leo winning. Now Matt Damon probably becomes the next actor who will take over the "never won an Oscar" crown. I want to say I heard this argument on a Bill Simmons podcast, but I can't truly remember for the life of me, but if you switch Damon and Leo to each others' parts, would the movie have been as good. I agree with what Simmons said, that Damon would have been just as good in The Revenant as Leo, but Leo wouldn't have been as good in The Martian as Damon was.
That's obviously just my opinion, but I stand by it. Not only did I enjoy Damon's performance in The Martian more, but I actually enjoyed The Martian more as a movie overall.
P.S. Still, how about that fucking bear scene?